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Review: Oval Space Music presents Roman Flügel, The Black Madonna and nd_baumecker

Glad all those London warehouses are being put to good use...

A mild February night in East London and for hundreds of clubbers all roads lead to Bethnal Green's Oval Space. Those roads are of the back alley variety though owing to the club's position in a bit of an industrial wasteland; the line of Ubers dropping people off paying testament to the tremendous usefulness of GPS, without which many would no doubt still be trundling up and down Hackney Road looking for the turn off.

Upon arrival and entry into the main room, nd_baumecker is just starting his set, warming up a quickly forming crowd. Starting very slowly, Andreas takes his time through a two hour set that moves from moody ambient at first before smoothly and gradually notching up the pace and energy until his 2am finish. Often vastly underappreciated, a good warm-up set can be key in coaxing clubbers away from the bar and onto the dancefloor, getting them moving before setting up the headliner; that's exactly what Andreas did, turning the energy up around half way with Fort Romeau's I Knew then keeping it going further and further until he left the crowd perfectly ready for the arrival of the main man, Roman Flügel.

Roman didn't hesitate in bringing his distinctive, arpeggio-led house / techno / electronic glitchiness to a peak-time set that was lapped up by a now packed dancefloor. The energy in the room was palpable, helped greatly by a quality soundsystem, a DJ positioned at floor level and close enough to touch and, most importantly, an up-for-it crowd there to dance. There wasn't a camera phone or selfie stick or God knows what in sight the whole time and the difference was remarkable. Emblematic of Roman's spacey but driving set was the classic Hale Bopp by Der Dritte Raum, thanks though to a fellow reveller with keener ears than mine to pick that one out of Roman's seamless mixing.

Around 4am The Black Madonna took over proceedings. Marea's taken a couple of decades to become an overnight success but tonight she showed just why she's been turning so many heads lately; a force of nature behind the decks, concentrating furiously in the mix before throwing herself with abandon along with everyone else as the next track explodes out of the soundsystem. Big housey beats and a still full room when the music stopped at 6am said it all really. The highlight was dropping Denis Sulta's It's Only Real, a magical track when coming out of a club soundsystem, from yet another talented young producer coming out of Glasgow and definitely one to watch himself.

The chorus of “one more tune”, a tribute to the night's stellar performances, were in vain unfortunately but there will be plenty more great nights to come at Oval Space if they keep this level up.


WORDS | Andrew Fulker PHOTOGRAPHY | Oval Space

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